Christmas is almost here in Polk County, which means that last minute preparations are happening all over to get ready for the gathering of family and friends, and for Santa's big ride.
So once again this week, readers including St. Nick up at the North Pole are able to find out what Polk County's little ones want this holiday season. Those can be found on Page A8 this week as last minute letters were turned in as late as last Friday to be published in the Standard Journal.
Additionally, take note that this week deadlines are a little different. We're asking all our legal and classified customers to please have information and payment into the Standard Journal office by today at noon if they want it in the final edition of 2018 to come out on Christmas Day for most of our customers, and the following day for the rest who get the paper by mail.
For those who need to run advertising on January 2, 2019, we're also asking they please come in on Dec. 26 to place an advertisement. Office hours on Christmas Eve will be limited from 8 to noon, and we won't open again until Dec. 26 at 10 a.m.
Also please note that after New Year's Day, we won't open again until 10 a.m. on Jan. 2. We ask all those who want to get an item into the paper to plan accordingly, and get in touch with us in the office as soon as possible.
Next Tuesday will also see city and county offices closed, the courts closed, most of the stores around town and much more.
Also take note that this weekend's Christmas Back Home concert is coming up in Cedartown on Saturday starting at 7 p.m., along with plenty of other events and services through the holidays at local churches. Check our community calendar on Page A12 for a fuller listing of what services are happening and when.
We thank all of our readers for their continued support during the holidays, and wish all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
All across the county, there's a love and reliance on the land that continues to impact life in many ways locally. Whether it be the men and women who pull on their work boots before dawn to get out and feed the cattle, or those who stay out past sundown to make sure the crop is harvested on time, agriculture remains both a passion and job for hundreds of people in Polk.
It is no different for the family of farmers in Taylorsville who this year represent Polk County as the Farmer of the Year. It's an honor that Allen and Tina Evans are proud to hold, but isn't great cause for them to brag.
They've got hundreds of acres to manage, and barely enough hours in the day to get everything done they need to do between keeping up the corn and cotton crops they plant, or caring for the sheep and goats
in hillside pastures close to their home. She jokingly said she has "too many" in her life to care for, but loves them all the same.
In just a few months, one of the busiest times of year come for her in February right before mothers give birth to new lambs and kids.
"The goal for me is to keep it clean," Tina Evans said. "I'm well known for clean fleeces."
Split between Bartow and Polk counties, the Evans farm is made up of 800 acres of land mainly devoted to husband Allen's planting season. He's a row cropper of only cotton and corn in a rotation to help ensure the soil stays healthy, which makes keeping up the family's two main moneymakers easier to do.
Row cropping on the hundreds of acres of land is in the Evans' blood. Allen father and grandfather worked the land as well, and now three generations are back on the farm again as their son Craig, and grandson Evan also help through the year on everything from planting to driving their tractor trailer and delivering lime to other farms ahead of spring to help condition the soil for the forthcoming year.
Tina on the other hand is responsible for the sheep and goats that produce a variety of wool that she washes, processes, spins and weaves herself into yarn, fabrics or finished products like a throw blanket for the couch.
She usually keeps the wool a natural color, but sometimes will dye it as well. Much of what her animals – like the goats, which resemble sheep because of their thick mohair fur -- produce ends up on a wholesale market and is sold to customers far and wide.
"It takes about 8 months for sheep to grow fleece, and for the goats about six months," Tina Evans said. "You've got to wash it, and I don't dye a lot of it. Most of it is natural colors."
Farm life is hard work. Every day requires the family to wake up early and tend to the livestock or prepare for a day out in the fields. Technology makes the job somewhat easier, but Allen said that he keeps the whole of the operation as basic as possible.
Especially since the equipment the Evans use to plant, tend and harvest their crop can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace if it breaks, and they can't fix it themselves.
Already, their focus is on keeping the equipment running smoothly as 2018 comes to a close. During a recent visit to the farm, the Evans had their crops harvested and fields empty for the time being, and were at work in their shop. Their son Craig was busy welding, and grandson Evan alongside offering his assistance as well.
The work they do has been going on for generations, and looks to continue on for years to come.
When Tina joined the family business when she married Allen, his father Ivan and grandfather Fred Davis worked the land.
"I made dinner (lunch) and hauled it out into the field, kept books and did payroll," she wrote.
Tina did a lot more to help out on the land when she learned to drive the tractor and operate other equipment, and kept that up until her son Craig was old enough to learn to drive it himself.
Then she was able to take on a new project to help supplement the farm's income: goats.
She said the work with the livestock is just as hard as what she did in the fields previously, but in a different way. Especially as technology has presented Evans with a global market for their products.
"It is definitely a lot harder with the marketing," she said. "I have customers in Canada, the U.S., before that. But definitely with Instagram and Facebook, it's all over. There's people who want it."
She added this however when it comes to farming: no matter what time of year, or whether it is deep in winter and snow falling on the ground, or if the bugs are biting in the muggy nights of summer night, whoever is keeping up the livestock or tending the fields has to get up and do the work.
"Very few people are willing to do that," she said. "But you still have to do that no matter what."
The Evans was honored earlier in the year as Farmer of the Year during annual celebrations locally organized by the Polk County Extension Office.
Headed up by Extension Coordinator Ricky Ensley, the celebration honors annually those farmers who are model examples of farmers in Polk County.
Ensley said that without a doubt, the Evans live up to that example every day.
"They are some of the best farmers we have in our community," he said. "When people want to get into agriculture and want to know what it's like, I point to the Evans and tell them they are who you should model your operation on."
It might seem like endless days of keeping up the land and their flocks, but what they love most of all is that connection to where they live and what they provide from their fields. The hard work they do means they might not get to take vacations every year or enjoy the finer things in life. But they find fulfillment in rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done.
"Our motto is don't die, get married or have a baby during planting, lambing or harvesting," Tina wrote. "We won't be there."
Justin Womack loves to be outside.
It's probably the one reason why he is a farmer who went off to school and decided it was too far away from the fields he grew up working in with his family, and so came back home.
Womack, who just a few years ago was a senior at Cedartown High School walking across the stage and getting ready to go off to college, is now firmly rooted in local soil again and about to finish up an Associate's degree in plant science Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
He is also the 2018 Young Farmer of the Year, and was celebrated earlier in the fall by family and friends who came to the annual banquet organized by the Polk County Extension Office. A couple months later, Womack was found hard at work on a variety of projects as the family also got ready to harvest their cotton, planted mainly around their home outside of Cedartown, but also in spots on Highway 27 south as well.
"Its my granddad, my dad and me," Womack said.
He got started in agriculture at a young age, and remembers early on lending a hand.
"I just grew up around it my whole life. It always interest me when I was a little kid," Womack said. "I'd go with my mom and grandma out to the field and take my dad and grandad lunch when they were picking cotton and corn or something."
His interest in keeping with the family tradition grew in middle school, and in high school he would spend weekends at work or as soon as school was finished for die day learning as much as he could.
After graduating from Cedartown High, Womack went to Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College, but came back to finish his studies at GNTC. He has five credit hours before he finishes his degree.
He said it was just too far away. Especially for someone who has been working on the farm full time since he was 15.
Womack stays busy at home. Whether it be maintaining equipment for work in the field, or planting, spraying the crop or picking and loading grain trucks, there's always something different for him to do.
"We have over 1,000 acres this year," he said.
Now that he's almost done with his studies, he's already looking toward the future when he'll be bringing up next generations, and what that might mean.
He said the farm might one day be home to cattle again, but for now is focused solely 011 cotton com and soybeans.
Womack said that fanning is something he's always loved, and that those who want to pursue agriculture and don't want a normal job should consider life on the farm.
"It definitely has its ups and downs, no doubt about it. But it is something different every day," Womack said. "I don't have to go to an office and sit down and do the same thing every day. I can come in and one day be picking corn and the next day might be picking cotton or fixing equipment. You always have something going on to keep you busy."
He looks forward to a bright future in farming and continuing a family tradition, centered around daily life in Polk County.
Children of all ages gathered at South Marble Coffee House over the weekend for story time in an event celebrating the holiday season put on by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce with the help of H&R Block and Oglethorpe Power.
The occasion was to not just celebrate the impending arrival of Santa Claus, but also to provide local youth with the opportunity to hear from a Georgia author who brought a Peach State-theme to the 12 days of Christmas.
Susan Rosson Spain took to South Marble Coffee House's stage on Saturday to read from her book, "The Twelve Days of Christmas in Georgia" to a group of children ready for story-time for the Chamber's holiday "A Georgia Jingle Jamboree" event as the holidays drew close.
Spain was on hand after the reading for a book signing for those participating, and the Chamber gave out hardcopy editions of Spain's book to those who came to take part. Leftover books were being donated to local schools and to community organizations giving away Christmas gifts this year, including Toys for Tots.
The Chamber was able to provide the books thanks to donations from Oglethorpe Power, and the event was sponsored by H&R Block in Rockmart and Cedartown.
Last Saturday's event wrapped up the year for the Chamber, but there's still plenty to get ready for ahead of the New Year.
Don't forget the Chamber's Small Business Discount Cards are on sale for $10 (see Page A2 for more) with the chance for those who purchase to win $1,000 in cash, and additional chamber events are coming up at the start of 2019.
Including the latest Chick-fil-A's January Lunch and Learn coming up the first Friday of the month after the start of 2019. This coming event is the latest in a series sponsored also by H&R Block and presented by local Chick-fil-A owner Zach Thomas. Lunch is provided, and costs are $15 for members, and $20 for non-members.
The Chamber is also getting ready for their Jan. 16 Member Appreciation Breakfast, and a later in Janaury presentation from Tourism Product Development Team from the state's Department of Economic Development.\
A presentation is planned for Jan. 29, and more information will be forthcoming in coming editions about the event.
Visit Polkgeorgia.com to keep up with other Chamber events happening in 2019.
Thanks to the Toy Express drive and American Legion Post 86, many Polk families could wake up to their biggest Christmas ever.
The charity, held annually by the Polk County Sheriff's Department, already benefits hundreds of children, but the Legion's recent monetary donation means more presents under even more trees.
The Legion held a dinner and formally presented the check to Sheriff Johnny Moats before their December 13 meeting.
While the department is always accepting of new, unwrapped toy donations, receiving money means the group can purchase items for applicants of specific genders and ages that have already signed up.
Those interested in contributing either can contact the Sheriff's Department at 770-749-2900 or by visiting at 1676 Rockmart Highway, Cedartown.
The charity met its application deadline on Dec. 14, but those in need of holiday assistance may still be able to receive toys in the event of leftovers.
Parents must prove custody and need of assistance and must not be receiving aid from another charity-among other rules. Any items not given away this year will instead be saved for next year's Toy Express.
"They can't sign up afterwards, but if they come up and they can verify that they've got kids in need, we'll try to help them out," Moats said. "The cutoff is 12 - its harder to buy for teenagers. We will double check to make sure they're not receiving aid elsewhere. We've been doing it for about 20 years, and we only help families from Polk County."
Approximately 230 applicants had been accepted by the Dec. 13 meeting, and by Christmas day, Moats expects that number to rise above even last year's approximately 270 applicants.
This wouldn't be the first time Post 86 has contributed to a local charity, and the group even plans to revive their own personal holiday drive next year.
"We're going to donate $2,500 tonight," Legion Post 86 Commander Timothy Hayes said before offering the money. "All of that money came from our members and donations right here at this building, so everyone needs to give themselves a pat on the back. You're doing a great deed. From everything from the coats, to the food, to this right here."
Moats and his accompanying officers were asked to the front of the room, and surrounded on both sides by Legion members, Hayes offered the funds.
"On behalf of Post 86 and it's members who did all of this for the past 8 months, and all the other countless donations we've done: Sheriff, I'd like to donate this check," Hayes said.
More information on American Legion Post 86 and it's happening can be found at https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPost86/.
"I just want to say thank you," Moats said. "Without people like you, we couldn't do this. We've had a lot of donors this year, but this is the biggest one so far."
Pine Bower Baptist Church will have their annual Nativity Scene tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 19) at 6 p.m. The Nativity Scene will be located on Hwy 27 South, next to the Farmers Store.
Cedartown First United Methodist Church invites the community to come out and the Christmas season with them with their opening event of the season. They'll hold their annual Blue Christmas service on Dec. 23 at 11 a.m., Christmas Eve services at 6 and 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, and much more through the holiday season. Contact the church at 770-748-4731 for more information, or visit cedartownfumc.org. The church is located at the corner of Wissahickon Ave. and North College Street in Cedartown.
The Rockmart American Legion Post 12 is beginning collections for the 74th annual Empty Stocking Fund drive. Legion and Auxiliary members will be out at local businesses collecting for this worthy cause in the coming weeks, and Post 12 is accepting applications starting last Saturday, Nov. 17 through Tuesday, Nov. 27 for needy families in the Rockmart-Aragon area. Children ages 2-10 are expected to be served. Applications are available at Post 12, the Rockmart library or Eastside or Van Wert Elementary Schools.
Christmas Back Home is coming to Cedartown on Saturday, Dec. 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $20 at the door for the event, featuring Scott Thompson, Brent McDonald and Friends. ticket sales going to the food pantry and clothing program at Cedartown Middle School. Students from the Middle school will also be part of the preshow festivities including, singing, musicians and drama. The ticket purchase code is "CMS27," and can be purchased at www.christmasbackhome.com.
Anna Kresge United Methodist Church is holding holiday festivities include their Dec. 23 men's play "It Came to Pass" and their Dec. 24 Christmas Eve candlelight and communion service at 7 p.m. The church is located at 15 Booger Hollow Road, Cedartown. Call for more information at 770-748-4308.
The community is welcome to join the Rockmart Presbyterian Church for their Christmas Eve service is coming up on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. The service will feature scripture reading, singing of Christmas carols, lighting of candles, and communion fill the service. This service prepares our hearts to receive joy and love. The church is located at 306 S. Marble St., Rockmart.
Need help with the bills during the winter, and are a senior? Tallatoona CAP will begin accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Senior Households 65 & older and Homebound Households. Appointments for the General Public will be accepted beginning in December. Appointments are provided on a first come first served basis until funds are exhausted. Polk County residents who qualify will receive either $310.00 or $350.00 toward their heating bill (heating source). To schedule an appointment or to request a homebound appointment, visit our website at www.tallatoonacap.org and click BookNow, or call 770-817-4666.
The Polk County Democratic Committee Meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. In the "even" months (February, April, June, August, etc.) the organization meets at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart and during the "odd" months (January, March, etc.) they meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125.
The Care Giver's Support Group is being formed for support for care givers in the Rockmart and Aragon communities. The location for the group is at Rockmart Presbyterian Church, 306 S. Marble Street, Rockmart. Call the church to learn more at 770-684-7289.
USAPA Pickelball Ambassador Daneen England is holding a free pickleball clinic every Monday (weather permitting) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rockmart Tennis courts, located at 436 Hogue Avenue, Rockmart. Loaner paddles and all necessary equipment will be on hand to learn t he sport. This is a free event for anyone and they just need to wear comfortable gym clothes and tennis shoes. Contact England at 770-356-1282, or by e-mail at email@example.com for more information.
The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5. Join the group for a good meal and to support veteran and children's programs. The Legion is located at 1 Veterans Circle, Rockmart. Check back for any changes to the dates on the calendar in coming weeks.
Rockmart Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce the expansion of its Music Ministry. First welcome Paul Campbell BM,MM,BD as Music Director and Organist, second the New Allen Organ in the Chancel and third, new program opportunities. The adult choir is accepting new members in preparation for its Christmas Eve program featuring "Christus Natus Est" by Cecilia McDonald. Sectional rehearsal are scheduled through the week. A new children's program includes Children's Choir on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (FREE and open to all who wish their children to learn to sing). There will be an orientation meeting for parents and children on October 10 at 4 p.m. In addition to directing the new children's choir, Mr. Campbell will be offering Piano Lessons along with Shellee Wilson BM, BA, ME, will be offering singing/vocal lessons. Private lessons have a monthly fee. For information to joining our music program please stop in and see Paul Campbell at Rockmart Presbyterian or call him at: 404-312-7801.
Do you have interest in studying the Bible and prophecies within? Contact Dr. Idel Suarez about a new study group being formed locally for serious scholars of the text. Contact him at 813-310-9350 for more information about how to participate and future meetings.
Celebrate Recovery meets every Monday night at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart starting with dinner at 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Large Group at 7 p.m. and Small Share Group at 8 p.m.
The office of Exceptional Students of Polk School District is available to assist with the identification of children with disabilities and provision a free appropriate public education beginning at the age of three through the age of 21. If you suspect your child is experiencing any developmental delay or you suspect your child might have a disability and would like assistance or for more information about services available through Polk School District, contact the PSD Exceptional Student Services office at 770-684-8718.
Aragon First United Methodist Church offers a food pantry for the community to use if they need assistance. They are open Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A picture ID is required to participate. Call 770-684-4855 for more information.
Rockmart First United Methodist Church invites the community to come out and join in worship on Sundays and Wednesdays at the church located at 135 W. Church St. Sunday morning worship begins with Bible study at 9:45 a.m., followed by Sunday school at 10 a.m. for all ages, and an 11 a.m. worship service. Wednesday night includes at 5 p.m. community meal on the last Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. Bible study and choir practice at 7 p.m. Weekly children's events at the church include a 5:45 p.m. children and youth meal, 6:15 Children's music and MYF, followed by L.I.F.E. at 6:54 p.m. All are invited to join in. Call Rev. Martha Dye at 770-684-6251or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at rockmartumc.org.
The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society again coming up next Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Head over to the organization's office at 608 Adamson Road, Cedartown, on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fill out an admission and prepay for the surgery. Those wanting more information can call 678-361-7304 for more information. Vaccines and tests are available for extra cost as well. Transports won't be scheduled again until Jan. 23, 2019.
Members are invited to join the Cedartown Exchange Club weekly on Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the Cherokee Country Club for meetings and dinner. New members from across Polk County are encouraged to get involved by contacting club president-elect Edward Guzman at 770-546-2482 to take part in the organization that is involved in a wide range of community projects. Visit their website at cedartownexchangeclub.com to learn more. Annual dues are required to be a member.
Just Us Ministries Inc. Food Bank has distribution every Tuesday and Thursday at 904 Young Farms Road in Cedartown. On Tuesday the distribution is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. A picture ID is required. For more information call 770-687-1009 or 678-901-3354, e-mail email@example.com, or visit Justusministries.com.
Harmony Baptist Church, 882 Little Harmony Rd, Cedartown (Esom Hill area) invites everyone to attend their weekly Sunday morning Services. First Sunday morning service begins at 9:45 a.m. with Sunday School followed by worship service at 11 a.m.. Our doors are open to all and we are looking forward to seeing you. For more information visit our Facebook page, Harmony Baptist church, Cedartown.
The Rotary Club of Polk County meets weekly at the Richardson Field Depot in Rockmart for lunch at noon every Tuesday and are encouraging members and potential new members to take part. Contact Missy Kendrick with the Rotary Club at 770-584-5234 for more on how to participate or become a member. Annual dues are required to be a member.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedartown, hosts a genealogy group that meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, except holidays. There are no fees for these sessions and they are open to anyone. Please bring all of your basic family history (if you have it) such as names, birthdates/death dates of parents, grandparents, children, etc. Bring your laptop or tablet, if you have one. If not, we can still help. Questions? Contact us at 678-477-2861 and leave a message or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamilyQuest42/
The Sit and Stitch is back to sewing at Rockmart First United Methodist Church in the fellowship hall. The group will meet the first and third Monday's of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can bring any craft they choose or help with a ministry project this year. The group is making crochet or knitted caps for donation to Helping Hands. A pattern will be provided and the group has crafters who can help those in need of instruction. Bring a sack lunch. Coffee or tea provided. Any questions please call Madeline Brown 678-435-5032.
The Kiwanis Club of Cedartown encourages members to take part in weekly meetings on Fridays at noon at the Cherokee County Club. Potential new members are asked to get in touch with Rhonda Heuer, Club Secretary at 770-748-1016 to learn more about how you can take part in making the community a better place. Annual dues are required for membership. Visit kiwanis.org to learn about the club.
Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for details about vendors and upcoming classes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provides opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The Ferst Readers Community Action Team meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404862-1273 for the meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.
Shiloh Baptist Church would like to invite the community to come participate in worship services weekly at their sanctuary at 433 Shiloh Road. Join the church for Sunday school at 10 a.m., followed by 11 a.m. service or Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. Call Pastor Jamie Newsome for more information at 404-425-8510.